Everyone knows that sleep is the foundation of good physical and mental health. This is particularly true for those who live a busy life, as getting a good night’s rest gives the body a chance to recover from the previous day’s trials and tribulations and helps maintain high focus during the busy day ahead.
However, as many as 67% of adults suffer from disrupted sleep and a quarter of Brits say that they get less than 5 hours of sleep per night. Despite this, 51% of adults fail to do anything about their poor sleep schedule and are living in a never-ending limbo of sleep deprivation and fatigue.
There are many reasons why we struggle to sleep. But, underlying most of them is the busyness of our modern lives.
Unlike our ancestors, who worked between the rising and setting of the sun, we can extend our workdays and prolong productivity well into the night. We also have access to a constant feed of news and opinion through blue-light emitting phones that wreak havoc with our sleep quality and leave us all feeling wired when we should be nodding off.
Sleep and Productivity
Most people can’t remember the last time they got to work and felt energised. Rather, most people start the day by reaching for the coffee pot and wiping the sleep from their eyes. But what if it didn’t have to be this way — what if better sleep could help improve our energy in the morning and raise our productivity throughout the day?
Well, research shows that those who get a healthy 7-9 hours of sleep per night are actually more productive than their peers who stay up working into the night. Additionally, folks who get enough sleep benefit from having a stronger immune system and are less likely to miss work due to illness.
This suggests that, despite the temptation to burn the midnight oil, the best approach to a busy life is to prioritise sleep. When we get enough sleep, we’re unlikely to fall behind due to illness and will have an easier time navigating the pressures of modern life.
Remote Work and Routine
Remote workers may find it particularly challenging to strike a healthy balance between work and rest. It’s all too easy to log on early or check work emails before bed, but doing so can throw a person’s sleep routine out the window.
Remote workers are also at higher risk of developing a sleep disorder due to the nature of their work. Most remote work involves long periods of sustained focus on blue-light emitting devices like computers and many remote workers enjoy the freedom of flexible hours. This means remote workers are at high risk of conditions like shift work sleep disorder, as well as social isolation and depression. These conditions can throw busy employees’ sleep quality into a tailspin and cause further health conditions down the line.
Fortunately, a host of tech solutions exist to help remote workers reduce the strain that blue light places on their brains and stay logged off at the end of their shift.
Remote workers can start by taking advantage of system locks on computers and devices. Windows task manager allows users to close down their computers at a set time of day and Apple’s mac can be locked similarly by utilising the security and privacy settings to shut down at the end of the workday.
Additionally, remote workers can consider investing in some blue-light cancelling glasses which reduce glare and may improve focus throughout the day. If blue-light glasses aren’t practical, then remote workers can make some sleep-positive changes to their routine by taking regular breaks in the evening and looking away from the screen for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
Sleep and Health Conditions
We’ve all been guilty of working when we should be sleeping at some point in our lives. Whether it’s an upcoming assignment, a daunting presentation, or simply the temptation to get a little extra work done, we have accepted the idea that cutting down on sleep can enhance productivity.
However, in the long run, skipping sleep for extra work will catch up with us and cause conditions that jeopardise productivity and lead to serious conditions. That’s because forgoing sleep is connected with health conditions like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. These kinds of conditions are brought on by increased inflammation in the body, which researchers suggest is caused by sleep conditions like sleep apnea.
Other conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are also more common among those who fail to get more than 6 hours of sleep per night. This makes sense, as, without sleep, our bodies aren’t able to adequately repair themselves after a hard day, which puts us at risk of a significant illness.
Poor sleep goes hand-in-hand with a busy, modern lifestyle. However, skipping sleep for extra work doesn’t improve overall productivity — it just results in long-term illness, fatigue, and a drop in performance. Instead, we should all try to prioritise sleep by taking regular breaks from screens and resisting the temptation to work overtime when we should be getting ready for sleep.
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If you need help getting to sleep, you could always try the Sleepiest app. Our sleep stories and soundscapes are the perfect way to help you drift off and ease yourself into a comfortable sleep. We promise it will help you on your quest to a better sleep routine once and for all.